Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and General Electric, a new report entitled “A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States1“, finds the greatest wind power potential offshore the highly-populated urban coastal areas of the northeast. Yet Lloyd Alter2 suggests another way besides demand in terms of assessing wind power potential.
Stuff does need more maintenance in the Arctic. High tech stuff needs trained technicians, and targeted maintenance – both seem to be hard to come by in the bush. Systems engineered for use in that environment will do just fine.” Says Treehugger Don, “I will be the first to say that I did not enjoy working in the dark, at minus 20 trying to restart a balky system.”
Relaying a story in the Globe and Mail by Katherine O’Neill, another consideration is the cost of current generation. Because it is in a remote area of Canada, almost all of the power in the Northern provinces now comes from very expensive diesel generators.
Tuktoyaktuk Councillor Jim Stevens notes “We’ve got some of the most expensive fuel in the world arriving in our communities. We then produce outrageously expensive power,” he said. “That’s got to stop.” In Nunavut, diesel costs account for 20 per cent of its entire budget.
Jason Edworthy, a Canadian wind-energy expert, notes “Doing anything in the Arctic is more expensive and challenging,” he said, adding that trained staff is hard to find and equipment wears out a lot quicker because of the cold and harsh climate.
“The Arctic is incredibly hard on machines. If something has a design life of 20 years, in the Arctic that would be two or three,” he explained.
Treehugger Bryan chimes in:
In today’s electricity market where wind competes with 4 cent per kw/h coal power, putting up 78,000 wind turbines is a good way to go broke.
However, I think Colville Lake pays about $2.50 per kw/h. The economics are more likely to work but will the turbines? In Kugluktuk there were 2 turbines lying on the ground. I believe they iced up & vibrated to death. Denmark is a northern country - do they build windmill that will handle rime ice etc…?
Treehugger Don informs that “wind power has been in use for some time in remote areas of Alaska - in places as harsh as it can get for weather.”
Case study http://www.greenpowergovs.org/wind/Kotzebue%20case%20study.html From the utility http://www.kea.coop/news/renewable-energy.php Oddly, even the military seems to have gotten part of the message –
Some system installed by Northern Power at military (and other) places within Alaska. http://www.ases.org/tour/resources/solaramerica/PDFs/AK.pdf
More Wind Power Expected in America Turkey in the Wind The Way the Wind Blows Low Speed Wind Turbines GE Wind Turbines
1A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States 2Lloyd Alter
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